These days I’m thinking about two statements that seem to have become my mottos (1) If we want to create a different world, we have to see and connect differently with our selves, each other and the creative process (2) Social change is a collective creative process. While both these statements were definitely nurtured by my internal personal change journey, I know they also have roots in my experiences as a community mediator. The second statement emerged when I was writing a paper to prepare for a conversation I facilitated on Spirited Activism (Hosted by The Praxis Project) last month. This statement/motto excites me because it helps reinforce my shift from seeing social change as struggles, battles, fights, winning of hearts and minds to seeing social change as dances, dynamisms, practices, journeys, a watering of seeds, a nurturing of relationships, play, risks, happenstance, intuitive choices, patience, collective power, brilliance, unleashing of potential, animation, active listening, understanding, opening-expanding-connecting hearts and minds.
I am currently reading Walk Out, Walk On. This collection of tales repeatedly reminds me (mind you, these days, most books I read and experiences I have remind me of this one!) that social change requires a shift in consciousness – an expanding of our awareness, of how we understand ourselves and our relation to the world around us. As my tagline for this See & Connect blog says, I am drawn to the importance of rooting social change in the art of awareness.
I am writing this post and I’m wanting to tinker with my first two mottos. I’m also wanting to add to them and describe a cycle, the stages of the journey we are taking together. Here is where I am right now – here are five inter-linked beliefs that guide me in my work to contribute to creating a better world – a world (what I mean by ‘better’) where individuals and communities are deeply connected to their selves, each other and our creativity though a beautifully woven tapestry of love, compassion, integrity, authenticity, intuitive wisdom, insight, inspiration and play:
1. We are all creators and creative – we are all constantly bringing thoughts, beliefs, words, behaviors, material objects, inter and intra personal dynamics into being.
2. Our relationships, cultures and systems emerge from our individual and collective creative processes.
3. Who and how we are being during our creative processes defines the nature of our creations and fuels their on-going impact.
4. If we want to create a different world, we have to be different – we have to see and connect differently with our selves, each other and our creative processes.
5. A crucial step in changing who and how we are being and what we are bringing into being is to expand our individual and collective awareness and insight – to expand our consciousness.
What ties these five beliefs together for me is spirit – which literally means breath. What are we breathing into/giving life to in our selves and the world around us? Are we giving life to and growing greed, defensiveness, competitiveness, hoarding, insecurity, disconnect, rage and adversarial positioning? Or are we giving life to and growing collaboration, sharing, connection, compassion, and unity? What spirit – life force – are we connected to, and creating from, within our selves?
Who and how are you being in the world? What spirit – life force – do you bring to your different communities – Your family? Your friends? Your workplace? Your sports league? Your house of worship?
What spirit do you bring to your relationship with your self?
Hi VeenaI love what you say about social change being a collective creative process, and that you are excited by seeing social changes as dances and so on. Your ‘collective creative’ reminds me of Tessy Britton’s ‘creative collaborative participatory paradigm’ (see http://www.shareable.net/blog/the-creative-collaborative-paradigm). It is exciting me too, as I think it maximises on the potential for ‘power with’ each other. I completely agree with you that we should be continually aware of what we are giving life to … and I also think that there are still struggles and battles to be fought while we dance. I think the dances can give us hope and energy, and I wonder how we can use them to also draw attention to the people who aren’t part of these dances, who oppress people and undermine social change – people with political and economic power. Unless we are seeking to actually move out of the dominant systems ( I assume that is what Walk Out Walk On is all about … I’ve yet to read my recently arrived copy).
Greetings Lorna!Thank you for your response to this post – I look forward to reading about Tessa’s participatory paradigm. You’ve got me thinking about how I think about and talk about the fights and battles that do inevitably exist….I keep finding myself wanting to step out of particular types of language, e.g., fights, struggles, etc, but I don’t know how essential or appropriate it is to do so.I’m inclined to see that people who lean towards oppressive behaviors are in the dance to, too – we are all dancing together (the world is a dance floor…)- a question for everyone is: "In what ways are we caught up in oppressive rhythms?" And one way to draw attention to this is by being the change we want to see – by moving in the rhythms that nurture, flow freely, feel connective in healthy ways. I say this, while being aware that is all sounds a bit hippy – a bit like a love-in oblivious to the oppression and violence, which isn’t the case at all. As you say, the truth is that we live in a world of oppressive behaviors and a critical question I think you are asking is: "While we are walking out of dominant paradigms, aggressive rhythms, what about those people we leave behind/walking away from – in what ways are we meant to be connecting with them?"Here in Mexico I’ve been coming back to this question a lot – How much time and energy do we put into inter-acting directly with people in power who are abusing that power? But this question for me isn’t quite right – i like to add to it "In what ways can we inter-act directly with people in power who are abusing that power – what forms of inter-action and connection will be expansive, unsettling and ultimately awakening?"So much more to say on this!!! Thank you for a thought-provoking comment. Delighted to receive it after much time away from writing, posting, etc. Will help me to step back into it all!!!Peace and love. veena